Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Five Presidents... A Comedy on the Oval Office?

On April 27, 1994 Four ex-presidents

Nixon, Bush and Carter
Clinton, Reagan & Ford

Ford, Reagan, Carter, Bush and a current President, Clinton, 

convened for the funeral of Richard M. Nixon. 
Playwright Rick Cleveland known for some of 'my' favorite political series; House of Cards and The West Wing came up with the idea for this play Five Presidents after seeing the iconic photo of these presidents gathered on this auspicious date.

After Watergate and Nixon, life for his successors had to change... 

No scenery changes were needed as all the dialogue happened within one space, the Executive Board Room at the Nixon Library.  What a good vehicle to use for the conversation the 5 must have had here since they came as political adversaries bringing up bitter pasts/differences and the legacy bequeathed to each. 

The audience got a history review and also may have learned some new things about the men who served in the Oval Office. For example, did you know Ford had a potty mouth?

Historical terminology and references alluded to included: Betty Ford Centers, Carter and Desert Storm, Logan Act, Energy Crisis, Carter and the rabid bunny, Air traffic controllers strike, Nation Healthcare Initiative, Whitewater, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Rowan and Martin's Laugh In and Saturday Night Live. And name dropping like crazy included personalities like: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Ross Perot, Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, Ann Richards, Bob Dole, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Gordon Liddy, Gennifer Flowers, Mubarek, Hubert Humphrey, the Smothers Brothers, Yitzhak Rabin and Anwar el Sadat to name a few... 

Thank goodness the program had short synopses of both the people and terminology besides a historical events map as a refresher...  

 Cleveland researched all the Presidents as if he was writing a biography for each and filled the no intermission hour and a half performance with an abundance of zingers. Perhaps our favorite  was of Bill Clinton's recantation of meeting an old boyfriend of Hillary's. Upon telling her of the meeting, he asked Hillary to imagine her life if she had married the other fellow. She didn't hesitate to respond. "Well, I'd be married to the President." 
Tah, dah, boom.

Perhaps the real highlight of my evening is capturing the scene below...  

                               Never thought I'd see Natureman embracing 2 Republicans...
Need I say more? An evening of one liner entertainment. Five Presidents just may be playing in a Rep theatre near you. We all sure could use a history review about the men we put in power. We might as well laugh about it/ otherwise we might cry.
(Playing in Milwaukee until the 5th)

For history buffs the full President's Biographies can be found :

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hiding, Betrayal, Survival: The Life and Times of Eva Schloss (and Anne Frank)

Tranfer of Memory, the photographic exhibit of 41 Minnesotan Holocaust survivors set the backdrop for this past week's D.B Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership Holocaust conference which is cerebrating its 10th year due to Darryle Clott, Viterbo University's Holocaust educator. 

Eva Schloss
This year Ms Clott invited Eva Schloss to speak as the keynote speaker. Eva Schloss not only is a Holocaust survivor but changed her life's work  from being a photographer and dealing in antiques to dedicating her life to Holocaust education having written 3 books and having a play written about her life. 

Karla Hughes
Dr. Artman, President of Viterbo University, welcomed the packed auditorium hall for Thursday night's Holocaust program followed by a musical number from Life in Hiding, a scene from Annelies. Anne was played by Karla Hughes, an assistant professor from the Department of Theatre and Music.

Eva Schloss blessed us with her  presence traveling from England to share her life story. She presented during the 2 day conference workshops in addition to Thursday evening for students, faculty and community members via an informal seated interview.  
Eva Schloss and Holocaust educator, Darryle Clott

Mrs. Schloss spoke of living a privileged life as a child in Austria  interrupted in1938 by antisemitism and the Nazis. At age 8 her family left for Holland but had to remain in Belgium in 2 cramped rooms awaiting a visa. After Belgium, they made their way to the Netherlands. Their apartment was furnished but without a yard so the children hung out on the front stoop. It was here she met a very popular girl, who the kids called Mrs. Quack Quack since she talked incessantly. This girl was always surrounded by neighborhood children. When she  found out Eva, a tomboy, had an older brother, her interest was piqued to become better friends despite their differences. More about this connection later...

Well, it wasn't long until both families were sent off to Auschwitz-Birkenau, a concentration camp in southern Poland where people were treated like animals. The famous Dr. Mengele systemically decided who should live and who should die. Naked and humiliated families were separated by gender and health in the work camp. The in-firmed and elderly were sent to the shower rooms really gas chambers.  The living even had to dispose of the dead besides other atrocities... Living with bed bugs, lice and fleas was minor in comparison.

When the Germans knew the enemy was approaching, they led long marches during which many prisoners died due to lack of food and proper clothing.  When the British eventually came to liberate the remaining emaciated survivors at Auschwitz, they were so malnourished they had trouble keeping down the rich food.  Unfortunately both Eva's father and brother were killed just a couple days shy of their liberation.

Mrs. Schloss's story is similar to so many.  Life after the camps is where fate took a different turn. That Ms. Quack Quack was Anne Frank who unfortunately perished in the camps but her father, Otto Frank survived as well as Eva's mother. Mr. Frank and Eva's mother became 'friends.' Mr. Frank was very nice to Eva and gifted her one of his camera's a Leica, and told her to hone the skill of photography which she did. After the war Eva had ended up in London where she met a young Israeli man Tzi Schloss (actually German) who wanted to marry her.  When she called home to tell her Mom that she had an interested suitor but she didn't want to marry him and was returning home, her Mom responded that she was hoping Eva was taken care of since Mr. Frank, Anne's Dad had proposed to her... Thus Anne Frank would have been Eva Schloss's step sister. Even in death she would be in Anne Frank's shadow as Anne's famous diary was found and published, her mother and her stepfather's life's work was decided. The Diary of Anne Frank is now in 70 languages.
Mrs. Schloss shared some of her brother's poetry

Mrs. Schloss also spoke about her talented  brother who hid his artwork during the war years beneath the rooming house's floor boards.  After his death and the end of the war his work was retrieved and the 30 pieces now hang in the Verzetsmuseum (the Dutch Resistance Museum.) He also wrote some 200 poems mostly dealing with death which Mrs. Schloss eventually published besides her own autobiography. 

After Mrs. Schloss's presentation and Q&A time, there was a book signing. The line extended out of the room and winded down the hallways with  interested patrons.
I hope all will have the opportunity to read her  books/ the play written about her for as the saying goes L'Dor v L'Dor, from generation to generation, we must REMEMBER...

Here's the link to:TRANSFER OF MEMORY

Friday, March 27, 2015


FOTO FRIDAY:  I know it's been a good while since there's been any Pirate talk around the End of the Rainbow Valley. In fact, I just celebrated the second anniversary since I starred in the fundraising production of "Pirates of the Chemotherapy" followed by donating all my hair to Locks of Love for the St Baldrick's Foundation.  Anyhoo, there was a pirate sighting I just had to share after stopping for a red light this past week. Look what was in front of me...

 How 'bout you? Have you personalized your ride? Do share.

There were some wonderful shares for last week's FOTO FRIDAY. Take a look.SPRING IS SPRINGING

Thursday, March 26, 2015


La Crosse was privy to some unique educational opportunities this week with the visit of Dr. Abraham Haim, the President of the Council of Jewish Sephardic Community of Jerusalem. Besides being a guest lecturer, Dr. Haim presented a medal of recognition of the Four Sephardic Synagogues in the Jewish Quarter of Old Jerusalem to one of my colleagues Jesús Jambrina for his research and work re: Spain's Jewish Sephardic communities specifically of Zamora, Spain where Jambrina's family originated before moving to Cuba. 

(l) Dr. Abraham Haim  (r) Jesús Jambrina
Jambrina has been instrumental in not only organizing two international conferences there but also in working with city officials regarding signage markers identifying locales and preserving the historical significance of that city’s Medieval Jewish Quarters for residents and visitors. 
Dr. Haim also presented the medal 2 years ago to Spain's King Juan Carlos so Jambrina is in good company.  

Timely news from Spain's parliament confirming the most recent granting of 'absentia citizenship' to any Sephardic who can prove their Spanish lineage. 600 years late is better than not at all. 

photo by Jesus Jambrina
Dr. Haim imparted history lessons regarding the Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews on Wednesday afternoon to Viterbo staff and The Living In a Diverse World and Medieval History classes. Those in attendance heard about Maimonides and the expulsion of the Jews (1492) and their diaspora as to where and when specific communities settled in Israel. Some 600,000 Spanish Jews had once lived in Spain. During the Spanish Inquisition one third converted to Catholicism while another third retained their Jewish identity but dispersed elsewhere out of Spain. Now I understand why Algiers had such a large Jewish community.

Pictured here: yours truly, Viterbo Latin American History prof, Eric Weinberg, Dr. Haim and Viterbo student
Jesús's yarmulke translated: Jewish Community of Madrid
Dr. Haim voiced a desire to see La Crosse's synagogue so after his presentations we made a brief stop at Congregation Sons of Abraham so he could visit. Jesús happened to have the yarmulke (skull cap) Dr. Haim had given to him last year in Spain. I can assure you Jesus donned a very 'special' head covering. 

Dr. Haim also demonstrated his knowledge exceeds the history of the Jews but also that he is well versed in the bible. Below he treated us to his Hebrew chanting from Genesis (Bereshit). It was a first for me to really hear a Ladino accent, the language of the Sephardic Jews. What a treat.

Dr. Haim's presentation on Thursday will be about Holocaust education in Israel to Wisconsin educators who are integrating this important part of history into their classrooms. It is important for future generations to understand the past and to ZAHOR, Remember.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

DELIGHTFUL, Simply Delightful

While the snow was melting Natureman and I treated ourselves to a $5 Tuesday at the movies with that free popcorn. It was a good thing we grabbed a quick bite before heading over to the cinema to see The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as the cinema's free popcorn was stale and the movie's Indian food scenes could have made a hungry viewer ravenous.

Movies are supposed to transport you and since India is not one of those places I am  going to get to visit, this movie gave us an India fix. Cultural insight gems into its people, family relationships, time, business, market and street scenes to mention a few besides a traditional wedding with all the hoopla.

We had seen the original Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and truly enjoyed this second version just as well because there is just something special about "Seniors" in love if you catch my drift...

I laughed an awful lot as the one liners were plentiful. The veteran actors filled the screen with their presence and hey who's going to complain about seeing Richard Gere? The man is still plenty easy on the eyes. AND he has that gorgeous head of white hair just like Natureman. Wink, wink.  

Even just being at a movie taking place in India after recently having read young friend Larkin's blog entry felt like we too were guests at an Indian wedding. What a cultural experience! The saris and wedding apparel were exquisite.  Bollywood always leaves me smiling... Delightful, simply delightful way to spend the afternoon as the most recent snowfall disappeared 'in town.' The End of the Rainbow Valley still has a good share of the white stuff left.   

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

ONE More Sign...

I had almost forgotten about one more sign that WINTER is almost behind us... that winter activity that actually was completed yesterday due to a snow day, 9, yes 9 inches of that white stuff. And it wasn't Natureman saying this was the last time that he would have to wear his red long underwear this winter...

Remember me mentioning the box of 4, not one, 1000 piece  puzzles that Natureman had brought home? Well the Man was out to do me in as he opened the third puzzle over a month ago. I swore it was all his because I had felt one puzzle had been plenty to tackle per winter here in the End of the Rainbow Valley

Well, the dust started collecting and there would be days, the puzzle just sat there untouched. I'd remind Natureman that he was the one who wanted to work on it. Of course that dust must have had a magnetic pull as I got sucked into working on it. Besides I wanted the game table to have its proper home back on the front porch. 

Yesterday provided the opportunity for us to finish the TRAIN puzzle. Now it needs a new home. 

The Church Picnic never had anyone claim it so just speak up and either/ both could be yours.

Natureman announced last night he had almost finished the last puzzle of the WINTER... yep, you may have guessed it, one piece is missing. This seems to be a tradition. The search will start in earnest in daylight.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

It's Not Over, 'Til It's Over...

It's not over, til it's over... winter that is. This is the scene I awoke to in the End of the Rainbow Valley this morning, it's still falling.
 I don't need to say one more word. 

Take a look. 

                                  Monday,  March 23rd, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

FOTO FRIDAY: Spring is Springing

FOTO FRIDAY: No one is upset that the winter cold is taking a break and is allowing us to enjoy the out of doors in jackets rather than winter coats. It's so very exciting to see green emerging from the once snow covered ground.

There poking above the damp earth are daffodil leaves and for a gal who's not thrilled about yellow, daffodils are an exception as it means spring. What's your favorite sign of spring?

Kaye in Little Rock snapped these daffodils a week ago. Pretty obvious difference between their zone 6 and our zone 4.
flowering plum
Terry also in the same city and zone but on the other side of the city captured her flowering plum. 

tulip poplar
                                                                                   Robbie shows what's ready to pop across the ocean in London... 
tulip poplars.

Or Pinque's  crocus blooming in Colorado...  
Colleen's enjoying spring in California, these poppies were popping on the west coast while a dusting of snow welcomed spring on the other coast in the D.C. / Md. area in   Ginger's photo.

 Happy First Day of Spring, May 20th!  

If you haven't seen all those cold remedies from last week, you should really take a look. Lynn added hers in the comments below section: Back to the Land of the Living 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Black Hole of TIME

Last night we watched the academy award winner The Theory of Everything, the story of the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking struck with Lou Gehrig's disease and his relationship with his wife. 

Mathematical equations were never mastered by me BUT one thing I am understanding a bit differently these senior years is TIME. The passage of time does indeed seem like a Black Hole as the days seem to pass faster and faster... 

I don't even recall when they started accelerating.

One thing's for certain we need to make the most out of each day and definitely appreciate good health... 

If you haven't seen this movie and you've got the TIME, it's very well done.

The Theory of Everything

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring's in the Air

One usually thinks of the countryside as being peaceful and quiet but when spring returns, it is anything but quiet and not just here in the End of the Rainbow Valley.

Of course, there's the welcomed songs of the birds. And the honking of the returning sandhill cranes as they fly overhead but there's a manmade sound that monopolizes the air space and that's the sound of the chainsaw.
Apple wood

It's clean up time. Time to start removing deadwood, brush and most importantly, working on rebuilding the woodpile for next winter already. 

Although Natureman's still recuperating from the cold/ cough of the century as I've named it, he had to take advantage of the mild 60 degree day to tackle the apple trees where disease has attacked another one of the 30 year old trees. I could call him the Butcher of the End of the Rainbow Valley as the hillside's view opened up with his afternoon of chainsaw work. But I know it's necessary to remove the diseased wood lest the other trees become infected.

So trip after trip, he carted the cut branches down to the campsite area where they will be burned. Normally I would have been helping him cart it yet my body had insisted on a 3 hour nap.  Yep, I had slept through all that chainsaw buzzing ( I told you that cough was bad.)

When Natureman called it a day and sat enjoying his afternoon beer with me on the porch swing, he remarked about feeling tired. Ya think? Both of us smiled, admiring the spring day and feeling grateful winter is almost behind us...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shelter Comes With More than a Roof

This past Friday I was able to help volunteer for the Gala Viola fundraiser for  La Crosse's New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Center held for its second year through the generosity of the Freight House Restaurant. 

New Horizons was started in '78 by women who knew abused women needed services and a temporary emergency shelter. By '87 several agencies sponsored its existence for 7 counties housed in the La Crosse County building until it outgrew that space. In '93 New Horizons moved to its present locale.

The shelter is now staffed every day, 24 hrs/day to be able to provide emergency shelter and food to domestic violence victims both women and children. Besides donated clothing and personal care items being available there is also support and advocacy in addition to programming.  

Services include:
  • 24 Hour Crisis Line
  • Shelter
  • Outreach Centers
  • Located in the City of La Crosse and the Town of Whitehall
  • Support Groups
  • Resource Advocacy
  • Legal Advocacy
  • Youth Advocacy
  • Diversity Outreach Advocacy
  • Transitional Housing Advocacy
  • Volunteer Coordination
  • Donation Center
  • Special to Thanks to ALL the Sponsors
  • Community Education
Folks were very generous with both time and talents not only  with the amounts bid for both the silent and live auction items Friday evening. Thanks to numerous sponsors for the evening and throughout the year. 

As in any non profit, it takes a village and I am glad the city of La Crosse has a place like New Horizons for those that need its services.  

UPDATE: Over $12, ooo was raised in this endeavor. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dancing Feet ...

There are a couple campus activities that I don't want to miss and one of those is the Latin American Student Organization's Fiesta which took place two Saturdays ago. 

Each year the event seems to grow and is definitely one of the best deals with a filling Tex Mex dinner buffet ($5 for students and $7 for staff/community.) If you don't want to eat, come later and dance for free.

Grupo Candela
This year  Grupo Candela from Madison returned to the stage. They didn't start off with any dance lessons but that didn't stop anybody from getting on the dance floor. 

We had a lot of calories to shake off from dinner and with Grupo Candela's latin beat it wasn't difficult to have dancing feet... for friends old and new, young and old from all over the world. As in any Latin affair it was for families and the balloons lying on the dance floor kept the littles occupied while their parents chatted and finished dinner. 

Churros with Chocolate Face
Fun Lighting
  My dinner table didn't lack for conversation with a charming newlywed couple who travelled an hour to enjoy the evening,   a couple from Ecuador,   
Uruguayan friend Marta and her husband Bill and a grad philosophy/ biochem student from Minneapolis. 

a great evening for the university and its community ... 

Latin fun for all ages!

Here's an older you tube video clip  : GRUPO CANDELA

Friday, March 13, 2015


FOTO FRIDAY this week is dedicated to cold remedies. When I taught the seasons were always marked by at least one good cold so I consider myself somewhat of an authority. 

Yet, it was Natureman who brought this monster home. I don't know if it's age/what but seriously colds seem to be getting worse. This one made each day feel like a truck had run over me. And it's time, time for the demons to leave. 

Hot water with honey and my newest aide, Fisherman's Friend have been my relief.  

Do you have a favorite cough remedy?  Do share.

I am ready to return, back to the "Land of the Living" Self imposed isolation has gotten old here in the End of the Rainbow Valley.

Martha sends a great 'get well' recipe:
1/3of a cup of lemon juice
1/3 of a cup of honey
1/3 of a cup of whiskey

Bring to a boil
Sip 'n grin.....

Colleen suggests a nettie pot.

Susan adds early intervention with Zinc - take zinc at the first sign of a cold and keep taking it until symptoms are gone.

Last week's FOTO FRIDAY was INTERPRETATION and if you didn't get to see buddy Colleen's impressive first attempt at gourd art, you need to take a look... 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Something's Fishy...

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted a new recipe so for those that like to try something new this is different. I have a large bottle of fish sauce in my refrigerator door that has just been waiting to be used again so of course when I saw this recipe from recipes.com,  my interest was piqued.

Here 'tis:  Thai Fish Sauce and Lime Chicken (I swear)
I had the fish sauce, fresh limes and chicken... so it was a go. We really enjoyed it served with brown rice and broccoli.  Hope you like it as much as we did here in the End of the Rainbow Valley!


4    6-oz skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 
1/4 t salt 
1 T canola oil  (olive oil)
1 c fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 
3 T sweetened chili sauce 
2 t fish sauce 
1/4 c fresh lime juice 
1 t creamy peanut butter 
2 T chopped roasted peanuts  (I used pistachios)
Lime wedges to garnish (optional)

Place chicken breast halves between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pounding them to 1/2-inch thickness .

Sprinkle chicken with salt.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. ( I wrapped cooked chickie in foil and place in toaster oven on warm)

Add broth, chili sauce, and fish sauce; bring to boil, scrape pan to loosen browned bits. 

Cook until broth mixture reduces to 2/3 c (about 4 min). 
Remove from heat; add lime juice and peanut butter, stirring until smooth. ( I did thicken with cornstarch)

Serve sauce over chicken; sprinkle with peanuts. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

All of These Things Have Something in Common



First of all, do you know what these pics are?  




A: a blue bird house cleaned out and remounted
B: chickens out free range
C. bubbles from frost coming out of the ground
D. dwindled wood pile
E . very wet muddy drive
F. run off from the melting snow

Now, what do all these things have in common? 

These are all sights & sounds to behold.   For when you have as long and cold a winter as we do in Wisconsin, the signs of spring are even more special here in the End of the Rainbow Valley...